Township residents spoke at the Porter County Board of Commissioners meeting
Tuesday to ask that the Commissioners do something about stray golf balls
from the Brassie Golf Club.
The residents said
stray balls from the Brassie’s driving range so frequently miss or fly over
the 40-foot protective net along Pearson Road that they don’t feel safe
spending time in their front yards, and they’ve had multiple instances of
The Brassie is half
in the Town of Chesterton, but the Club’s driving range is under the
County’s purview since it’s south of 1100N in unincorporated Porter County.
The residents have all lived along Pearson Road since before Brassie was
Tribune explored the problem and asked local officials to weigh in on
whether or not the threat of stray golf balls poses a public safety hazard
or nuisance in an Aug. 29 article. That article noted that Commissioner Jim
Biggs, R-North, said he was open to addressing the issue and would bring it
up at the Sept. 3 Commissioners meeting.
Biggs did not raise
the issue before the residents brought it up during the meeting’s public
comment portion, after which the Board doesn’t typically discuss further
The residents say
former management at the Brassie answered their complaints and paid for
damages, but they’re fed up with having the problem in the first place, and
new management dodges their calls.
David Evans, who
said 50 to 60 golf balls enter his yard per year, some of which caused
damage in 2016 and 2017, said he feels his home should be a safe haven, but
he doesn’t feel safe in his yard. “I call down there, and they say, ‘Well
stay out of your front yard,’ and they hang up on me,” he added.
Evelyn Komenas, the
resident who has had the most damage, suggested the net should extend at
least 200 feet farther north and be taller.
All three residents
say the stray drives constitute a public nuisance and safety hazard, and the
County could do more. Komenas added she doesn’t want to get an attorney for
a problem she didn’t cause. “I’m not asking for money. This should be an
Kim and David Evans
suggested the driving range should be moved or at least should not operate
while the issue is under review. “This has been going on way too long. They
have not been a good neighbor to us. They are harassing us on our
properties,” Kim Evans said.
that he doesn’t think the residents should have to put up with stray golf
balls, but he was met with resistance when he tried to speak with a former
Brassie manager about it. Biggs asked that County Attorney Scott McClure
draft a letter to the Brassie to try to open dialogue and see what can be
McClure, for his
part, said he’s never been to a golf course that didn’t have at least one
hole that threatens a public road or neighboring property, and it’s tough to
tell whether that rises to the level of public nuisance. “At the end of the
day, this isn’t unique to just this one area. I’m not saying that it’s not
upsetting to have golf balls come into your yard or to have the potential
for one of them to hit you.”
McClure said the
law is “crystal clear” on who is responsible for paying for damages
(individual golfers), but that the County could start a discussion with
Brassie about improving the protective net. Making the net taller would
require a variance from the County Board of Zoning Appeals due to its
announced major repaving projects that will include lane restrictions on N.
Calumet Road and Meridian Road in September. Traffic will be down to one
lane during each project and residents will have access. “The projects will
be staggered to ease congestion,” according to a release. Drivers are
encouraged to use alternate routes during lane restrictions.
and restriping on N. Calumet Road from Wesley Road to U.S. 6 will begin
Monday. Sept. 9 and continue through Thursday, Sept. 19, weather permitting.
and restriping on Meridian Road from C.R. 600N to U.S. 6 will begin
Wednesday, Sept. 18 and continue through Wednesday, Sept. 25, weather
also announced their meeting dates have been rescheduled through the end of
the year. The new meeting dates are Oct. 8, Nov. 5, Dec. 3, and Dec. 17 at
10 a.m. in suite 205 of the Porter County Administration Building.
approved polling locations for the 2019 municipal election. Elections
Director Sundae Schoon and Assistant Director Becky Rauch reported some
precincts were consolidated for the upcoming election, with about 1,700
people affected. Everyone who is voting at a new location for this election
will be notified by mail.
The Board also
approved renewing a contract with Dossett Consulting, who has prepared the
County’s cost allocation plan to identify the costs incurred by the
Prosecutor’s Child Support Division for several years. Knowing the costs of
the program, besides salaries and materials, is essential for obtaining
federal reimbursement funds for the program, according to County Auditor
Vicki Urbanik. Urbanik said Porter County was reimbursed approximately
$197,000 for Child Support last year, and the reimbursement jumped to
approximately $222,000 this year.
The Board approved
an agreement for Steele Benefits to provide software that will make open
enrollment more efficient and provide County employees with a one-stop
online portal where they can see their insurance plan details. Urbanik said
the Auditor’s office will split the $7,500 cost with Human Resources.
The Board approved
the Highway Department to enter a $20,000 lease purchase agreement with
Enterprise for five new Ford F-250 trucks equipped with snowplows. Jim
Polarek reported the trucks will have plows so the three department foreman,
Highway Superintendent Rich Sexton, and himself can help during snow events
instead of just going out to survey.
The Board also
approved an agreement with United Consulting for design services for bridge
149, Waverly Road over the Little Calumet River, in Porter. County Planner
Bob Thompson reported bridge 149 is scheduled for federally-funded
construction in 2024.